Fans of washboard abs, take note. They may be (negatively) affecting your man's sexual performance, at least when it comes to staying power.

A study from Erciyes University in Turkey has found that greater abdominal fat — and the female hormones that go along with it — result in a longer time to orgasm in men. In the first study of its kind, researchers tracked men's BMIs and self-reported sexual details over a year's time. They found a relationship between premature ejaculation (PE) during sex and body weight, with slimmer men (those in the normal weight group) having a higher likelihood of PE.

The authors of the study wrote: "We found that patients with lifelong PE were leaner than the healthy control cases." And conversely, "As the BMI increased, the number of patients decreased in the PE group." And yes, this worked all the way up to men in the obese category. The larger the guy, the longer he lasted. The reason why? Scientists are guessing that it's estradiol. This female hormone inhibits orgasm in men, and it's produced by fat. The more fat, the more hormone. The more estradiol, the closer men's time to climax gets to women's. 

When the data was broken down, overweight men lasted about 7 minutes before climaxing, whereas slimmer guys were closer to 2 minutes. That's a big difference when it comes to a heterosexual woman achieving her own payoff since it takes, on average, about 10-20 minutes for women to get there. A mismatch in these times between straight couples can lead to frustration. 

Of course, this study was looking at only two pieces of information, and it's well known that sex has many complicating factors, including physical and mental (for both men and women) ones.

So as with all first studies, it should be looked at with both interest and caution. Because obesity — even if it does make a guy slow down sexually, which could be a boon to his partner — still causes serious health problems that could make lovemaking moot. Heart disease, diabetes and prostate cancer (and lower sperm counts) can all seriously affect men carrying extra pounds, no matter what they're like in bed. 

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.